how to … my favorite tubular cast on …

Have you tried several methods to work a tubular cast on like I did ? And did your yarn get tangled and maybe your fingers too ? Well, mine did. Holding needle and yarn in a delicate position in one hand trying to scroll down – or back if it is a video – to see the next image from the tutorial with the other hand. A ‘tour de force’ and every time the cast on is a real mess …

Or – working with waste yarn – did you cut the waste yarn but also your main yarn ? :-/ I did …

tubular cast on cover

Here is one that is – at least for me – easy and neat: my favorite tubular cast on for a 1/1 ribbing. It is a very easy-peasy, non fiddly way using waste yarn, a combination of the crochet cast on – my favorite – and the way I learned to work a tubular cast on a long time ago …

I stumbled on this method by surprise. I wanted to knit me a hat and I had just written a blog post (here) …
1 + 1 made 2

You will need some waste yarn in a contrasting color and a crochet hook in the same size as the needle. Go up a needle size for the provisional crochet cast on. It is easier to work with a larger needle and the cast on will be stretchier.

tubular 1tubular 2

tubular 3tubular 4That’s it for the provisional cast on. Next the working yarn will be introduced. The first rows are worked back and forth – even if you will be joining to knit in the round later to make a hat or a sock – because it is easier to manipulate the stitches.


tubular 5tubular 6tubular 7

tubular cast on 9That’s really it, you are all set to start your knitting. If you are making a hat, you
can join in the round now. Work the last stitch of the row together with the first
stitch of the next row (= 1 stitch decreased) and now you have the right number
of stitches.

how to … pompom and Co #3 …

I like the tassels on my new hat, but I want to try something else …
This is my hat without any pompom, tassel or anything …

In the large photo my hat is soaked in water and left to dry on a plate for a ‘beret’ look. The small photo on the right is ‘unblocked’.

And here with tassels (see previous post how to make them)


Maybe a pompom ?  (see here)

With other materials ? and a different look ?

Crochet chain might work … in a pop color. Let’s try.

I used some cheap acrylic yarn but with a terrific orange color to try it out. Crochet a chain of about 3 m / 3.30 yards (or longer), break the yarn and tie off.

Wind the chain around the thumb and pinky as shown. Cut another piece of yarn or use the 2 ends of your crochet chain to tie it firmly in the middle. That’s it.


Or ….

some curls ? knit ?


I used DK yarn  and 4 mm / US 6 needles

Curl 1:                                                 Curl 2:                                           Curl 3:
Cast on 24 sts
                                    Cast on 20 sts                               Cast on 20 sts
row 1: purl all stitches.                      row 1: pfb*  every stitch              row 1: k1, yo, k1*
row 2: kfb*  every stitch.                   You now have 40 sts                              in every stitch.
You now have 48 sts                          Bind off all stitches                        You have 60 sts
row 3: purl all stitches.                                                                              Bind off all stitches
Bind off all stitches

  • kfb: knit in the front and back leg of the same stitch
  • pfb: purl in the front and back leg of the same stitch
  • k1, yo, k1: knit 1 st , yarn over, knit 1 st in the same stitch




1, 2 or 3 ?

how to … pompom and Co #2 …

part two of pompom and Co: tassels and cords (see here for part 1: the real thing)


How to make tassels


Cut a piece of cardboard at the length of the tassel you want to make (the cardboard in the sample is 5.5 cm / 2“).

Wind the yarn all around           The more you wind the         Cut a piece of yarn (± 20 cm
the cardboard.                             fuller the tassel.                     / 8”), thread it in a tapestry
…                                                  Cut the yarn.                           needle. Slide the needle be-
…                                                                                                   tween the cardboard and
…                                                                                                   the yarn.                     

Pull the needle through
             At the opposite side cut          Remove the cardboard.
and tie a knot.                           through all the yarn wrapped          
…                                                around the cardboard.



Cut a 2nd piece of yarn
about 3 times the length of

the tassel, wind it at least
twice around the tassel to
form the head. Tie it very
firmly and cut the ends at
the same length as the tassel.

Ready … unless you want it to hang at the end of a cord …

How to make a cord

Decide how long and thick you want your cord to be. Each piece of yarn will be folded in half, twisted and folded on itself again, so using one strand results in a 4 strands thick cord. Using two strands will give you an eight strands thick cord (see below). Cut one (or more) piece(s) of yarn at four times the length of the cord you want to make.



Fold the strand(s) in half.             Hold the ends in your left      Stretch the yarn and place
.                                                      hand.                                        your right index finger in 
…                                                                                                     the loop at the folded side.
…                                                                                                    Start twisting.

Continue to twist in the
            Remove your finger from           Tie all the ends firmly in a
same direction until the            the loop and fold the                  little knot and trim the 
yarn is completely twisted        twisted cord in half. Hold            ends but don’t cut too
and tightened up.                      the two ends together.                much because the knot
…                                                 The cord will twist on itself.        could be undone

Attach the tassels to the cord and hide any yarn ends in the tassel. As you can see in the next pic the cords are the finer ones made with only one strand.


And here they are on my new hat


how to … pompom and Co #1 …

Pompoms, tassels, curls …. even so many possibilities to finish a hat, scarf or shawl and give it a special touch. Even a dull colored hat can change dramatically depending on the pompom, its color or other embellishments.

How to make a pompom



Copy the circle above on a piece of cardboard and cut it out. Cut a 2nd one too. You need to make the circle a little larger than you want your pompom to be. I made  cardboard circles with a diameter of  8 cm / 3”. The pompom will be 8 cm / 3 ” – or less depending on how much yarn you will cut away to even it.

Hold the 2 cardboard circles together with the slits at the same side.

Wind the yarn all over the           Use different colors if you         The more you wind the
cardboards.                                  like.                                               fuller the pompom.

Starting at one of the slit
          Take care not to lose any       Cut a piece of yarn 
ends of the circle, slide your      yarn, so hold the middle        (± 20 cm / 8”) and 
scissors in between the two       area of the circle firmly.         slide it in between
cardboard layers and cut                                                            the cardboard layers and
through all the yarn wrapped                                                    tie very tightly.
around the top. 

Remove the cardboard circles and even the pompom with scissors.



A pompom can be made with anything yarn-like. Fun-fur, Fantasy yarn, Eyelash yarn, Novelty yarn: it has lot of names. I had some balls of that fun-fur in my stash for years and finally found a use for it.

How to make a fun-fur pompom


If you tried to make a pompom in the usual way with cardboard and sciccors (see above) you will see that making a pompom in Fun-fur is even easier. No need for cardboard and scissors at all.


funfur1         funfur2
Wind the fun-fur around                  When it is thick enough, 
your fingers.                                       break the yarn.

funfur3         funfur4
Cut a piece of matching                   (it doesn’t really look like a 

cotton or wool and tie it very          pompom now). Gently pull
tightly in the middle.                        out the fur with your fingers 
(Notice that I used the fun-              to give it the fluffy look.
fur to tie, but it’s better to
use a smooth yarn for this,
believe me)

Ready to attach to your hat or scarf or to anything you like.


BTW: this is my latest pattern: Prpl rain is a set containing a beanie and a long, vintage-like, narrow scarf, both with a very easy stitch pattern that is very useful to use with variegated yarns. It effectively breaks up the ‘pooling’ in these gorgeous skeins by the use of lots of yarn overs. It equally looks good in solid or semi-solids.

Check it out here

Next time more on this and these


how to … work an ESTONIAN BRAID aka VIKKEL BRAID …

Adding a braid between body and ribbing or any other kind of edging gives your knitting a very neat and professional look. And it is not that difficult.

estonian mod 7

I used it in my ‘Atropa‘ in a different color than the edging.

If you use a contrasting color for the braid – like I did – knit 1 round (supposing you are working in the round) with that color first before starting the braid.


step 1   step 2   step 3
m1L (make 1 left), slip the   Knit the 2nd stitch on the      knit the first stitch through
just made stitch to the         left needle through back       front loop and drop both
left needle                             loop, (don’t drop any             stitches off the left needle.
…                                            stitch yet, leave the stitches
…                                            on the left needle),                                                                          


step 1B   step 2B  step 3B
Slip last stitch on the           Knit the 2nd stitch on the     knit the first stitch through
right needle to the               left needle through back       front loop and drop both
left needle.                           loop, (don’t drop any             stitches off the left needle.
…                                           stitch yet, leave the stitches
…                                           on the left needle),                                                                            

Repeat these 3 steps until all stitches have been worked. Pass the last stitch of the braid over the 1st stitch of the next round.
Now you have the same number of stitches as before you started the braid and you can start the ribbing or any other finishing at your liking.


This is a very nice and neat way – and an easy one too – to cast on a number of stitches at the end of a row. You will need a crochet hook of about the same size as the needle you are using.

Work the row to end. Place the needle in your left hand so that the other side is facing you. If you worked a right side row, the wrong side should be facing and if you worked a wrong side row the right side should be facing.


1  2
Insert the crochet hook           Catch the yarn and pull a loop
in the last stitch on the             (= 1 stitch on the crochet hook)
left needle.


1b  2b 3b
Bring the yarn under and        Bring the crochet hook in      Pull a loop through the loop 
behind the needle.                    front of the needle and         on the crochet hook.
                                                pick up the yarn.                    (= 1 stitch more on the
…                                                                                                  needle  and 1 stitch on
…                                                                                                  the crochet hook)                                  

Repeat these 3 steps until you have cast on the desired number of stitches minus 1.

4 5
…                                               Place the stitch from the
…                                               crochet hook on the needle.

Tata, finished. Turn your work and start the row.

Now, this is for working back and forth.


In the round.

If – for example – you are working a pullover top down and you need to add stitches at the neckline to close it and start working in the round: cast on the right number of stitches, knit the first stitch from the stitches you need to join to and pass the 2nd stitch on the right needle over the knitted stitch and off the needle.

Voilà you can start working in the round.

how to … CROCHET CAST ON …

a pretty and easy way to make a provisional cast on …

This is my favorite provisional cast on. It is very easy and it is very neat looking and that is the reason why it doesn’t need to be only provisional. It could be used as a regular cast on that matches a knit bind off and it is a very neat way to cast on stitches at the end of a row. (I will write about that in another post. Finally here it is).

To make a provisional cast on you will need a knitting needle, some smooth scrap yarn that is not too hairy and doesn’t split and a crochet hook in about the same size as the needle.



slip-knot  hold cr h ifo needle pull loop
With some waste yarn              Hold the knitting needle in      Pull a loop through the 
make a slip-knot on the            your left hand, and the           loop on the crochet hook.
crochet hook.                            crochet hook in your right
…                                                hand, bring the yarn under
…                                                and behind the needle.

1 stitch = 1 stitch cast on (on the needle) + 1 stitch on the crochet hook

cast on 1 pull loop 2

Bring the yarn under and        Bring the crochet hook in
behind the needle.                   front of the needle and pick up
…                                               the yarn. Pull a loop through 
…                                               the loop on the crochet hook.

Repeat these 2 steps until you have cast on the desired number of stitches.

extra ch sts extra ch sts 2
Don’t break the yarn yet.         Break the yarn and tie off.
Make a few more chain           It is on this side you will
stitches with the crochet         start unraveling the provisio-
hook off the knitting needle.   nal cast-on to recapture the
…                                                stitches.

Now you can start knitting. Introduce your working yarn and start the row.



unzip 1  unzip 2
Start at the chain end and        Pull on the tail to unzip 
untie the tail                              the chain.

unzip 3  unzip 4

Gently pull on each chain       and place each recaptured
stitch                                         stitch on the needle.

Repeat these 2 steps for every stitch.

unzip 5  unzip 6
If you were working in the         Place that loop on the needle.
round, the last stitch doesn’t
look like a real stitch , it is
only a loop.

Now you are all done, all stitches are on the needle. Ready to work whatever finishing you had in mind.


Most of my patterns are completely seamless, so no need for a tapestry needle, really – except for weaving in and occasional end, of course (I don’t bother weaving in ends that hang at the wrong side and don’t stick out – sshht, don’t tell anyone). But still, it is good to know how to graft two pieces together. Grafting joins two pieces with the stitches still on the needle aka ‘live’ stitches. It doesn’t have the bulkiness of a sewn seam and it looks seamless. It creates a row of knit stitches (see the yellow stitches).

kitchener blog

The kitchener stitch can be used to close the toe of a sock, to close the shoulder seam of a garment worked bottom up or as a tubular bind off that matches a tubular cast on. The pictures in this tutorial show the latter.

You might notice that the ribbing in the photos is a 2/2 rib and the kitchener stitch is usually used on a 1/1 rib. Here is a great way to go from a 2/2 rib to a 1/1 rib. It’s genius.
I didn’t really drop the stitch (too scary) but placed it on a cable needle
and held the cable needle in front.

Lets’ go:


Half the stitches should be on one needle and the other half on another needle. (If you are working a tubular bind off, slip all the knit stitches to one needle (front needle) and all the purl stitches on another needle (back needle).

Cut the yarn at about twice the length of the edge that needs to be grafted. Thread the yarn through a tapestry needle.

first stitch 1  first stitch 2
Insert the tapestry needle        Then insert the needle into
into the first stitch of the          the first stitch on the back 
front needle as if to purl          needle as if to knit (from front 
(from back to front) and          to back) and pull the yarn 
pull it through.                          through

The following steps will be repeated for all stitches.

step 1 step 2-3  step 3-2

Go through the first stitch on     Drop the  stitch off the          Go through the next
the front needle as if to knit       front needle                          stitch as if to purl (back to
(front to back)                                                                        front)

step 4 step 5-6 step 5
Go through the first stitch on    Drop the stitch off the       Go through the next
the back needle as if to purl.       back needle.                      stitch as if to knit.

Repeat these 6 steps until only 1 stitch is left on the front needle and 1 on the back needle. Go through the stitch on the front needle as if to knit, drop it, go through the stitch on the back needle as if to purl, drop it and weave in the end.

Once you have worked a few stitches you will get in the rhythm:
front needle: knitwise, drop, purlwise
back needle: purlwise, drop, knitwise

IMPORTANT (if you are like me 😉
If ‘as if to knit’ or ‘knitwise’ and ‘as if to purl’ or ‘purlwise’ makes your head spin, try to think of it this way.

Insert the needle in the first stitch always inwards, and in the second stitch outwards, no matter if it is the front or the back needle – except for the preparatory step with the very first stitch: see on top.

And the song goes like this:
front: inwards, drop, outwards
back: inwards, drop, outwards

inwards, drop, outwards
inwards, drop, outwards
inwards, drop, outwards
inwards, drop, outwards
in, drop, out
in, drop, out


How to … m1L and m1R … and to never forget which is which …

On the knit side

m1L : make 1 left, (left slanted increase)

m1L grijs?-1.


With the left needle pick up the strand between 2 stitches, from front to back and knit through the back loop.




m1R : make 1 right, (right slanted increase)

m1R grijs?-1.


With the left needle pick up the strand between 2 stitches, from back to front and knit through the front loop.






And here is the trick to remember and never forget: (watch the front leg that is closest to the knit side: the red leg in the pics)

m1L grijs?-2+oijl             m1R grijs?-2+pijl

See how the front leg is pointing to the                    And here the front leg is pointing to
left ? This must be m1L (make 1 left), right ?         the right. This must be m1R (make 1
…                                                                                  right)


On the purl side

This is a little different and a bit more complicated to explain, but once captured, it is very easy to remember. The m1pL (make 1 purl stitch to the left) and m1pR (make 1 purl stitch to the right) are described as seen on the knit side (often the right side of your work). In fact on the purl side it is harder to see a significant difference in direction of both increases.  So, m1pL is left leaning on the knit side. Consequently, the m1pR is right leaning on the knit side.

m1pR : make 1 purl stitch right, (right slanted increase as seen from the knit side)

m1pL grijs?-1.


With the left needle pick up the strand between 2 stitches, from back to front and purl through the front loop.






m1pL : make 1 purl stitch left, (left slanted increase as seen from the knit side)





With the left needle pick up the strand between 2 stitches, from front to back and purl through the back loop.







And now the trick.

As said before right and left in the purl increases refer to the knit side.

m1pR                        m1pL

See how the front leg is pointing to             The front leg is pointing to the left.
the right
? This is m1pR that                       This should be m1pL that matches
matches a m1R at the knit side.                  a m1L at the knit side.

Memo – if ‘left’ and ‘right’ don’t love you 😉

Now, if you don’t want to hurt your brain with ‘right’ and ‘left’, just think of increases leaning away from or leaning towards a marker and watch the legs closest to the right side which is often the knit side.

On the knit side: leaning away from a marker in the middle

m1L grijs?-2+oijl  marker m1R grijs?-2+pijl

and on the purl side: watch the back leg closest to the knit side leaning away from a marker in the middle

m1pL grijs?-2+pijl  marker  m1pR grijs?-2+pijl

Well that’s it. I never ever think about left or right anymore. I think of increases leaning away from a marker or towards a marker …

… afterthought pockets …

Recently I knit a cardigan for my friend in a classic navy-blue. But than I found something was missing and added some color at the ribbing, buttonbands and neck.

I also wished I had made pockets (a little late, I know, the cardi was finished) as I know he likes to have some storage room for I-phone, glasses etc…

So this is how I did it and how you can do it, even in store bought pullovers or cardigans:

Decide where you want your pocket and how wide
your pocket opening needs to be. Mark the edges with stitch markers.

afterthought pockets-1

Choose the row where you would like the pocket opening.
Snip a stitch in the middle between the two markers.

afterthought pockets-2

Pull out the yarn of the row you cut, in both directions until you reach the stitch markers at the ends.

afterthought pockets-4

You now have two rows of live stitches (at the top and the bottom of the opening)
afterthought pockets-5
The yarn tails can be used later to close any holes or to stabilize the corners.

Slip the stitches of the upper row and the lower row to a circular needle.
afterthought pockets-6

afterthought pockets-7

Join the working yarn and knit the pocket in the round to desired length. (Make it a little shorter than needed, because the fabric will stretch in use)

afterthought pockets-8

Bind off all the stitches using the 3 needle bind-off.

Hold the needle tips with the stitches of the pocket together.
With a 3rd needle knit 1 stitch from front needle together with a stitch of the back needle, knit the following stitch of front needle together with next stitch of back needle.
Insert one of the left needles into the second stitch on the right (3rd) needle, pass the second stitch over the first stitch and off needle. (This is the normal way of binding off).
Bind off all stitches. Break yarn and pull it throught the remaining stitch.

afterthought pocket  afterthought pocket2

And with some buttons (also afterthought) it just looks right.

afterthought mod 3

A few more pics here on Ravelry